At 5 p.m. Sept. 14, the new Texas Tech chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, hosted its first general meeting in the College of Media and Communications.
The meeting allowed students to learn about what the chapter will be offering throughout the semester while also indulging in free popsicles. Ellie Fisher, president and founder of Tech's NAACP chapter, said the organization has been in the works for a year.
“This is the first time that we can actually be on campus and operate under the NAACP as well as the campus," said Ellie Fisher, a fourth-year agricultural business communications and legal studies major from San Jose, California. "So, we’re fully here, we’re fully ready. But we can also talk to our members a little bit about what’s going on and what we do.”
The NAACP was founded in 1909 and is the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. This meeting was regarding the collegiate NAACP, which is the Youth and College Division of the organization. This division provides young people the skills necessary to meet various challenges that African Americans and other young people of color face.
Tech’s NAACP chapter will be working with local activists and organizers throughout the year, as well as organizing marches, rallies and direct-action campaigns to bring attention to local issues.
“So, today is just general education. Kind of just getting out the word of the NAACP and of our mission statement and where we want to take the chapter going on throughout the rest of the semester and the rest of the year, even,” said Noah Flowers, a fourth-year marketing major from Abilene, Texas.
The NAACP believes in advocating for change and justice, Flowers said. It seeks to empower people of color and help them advance alongside society.
Fisher said this chapter is just one part of a larger organization. The NAACP focuses generally on any form of injustice and discrimination featuring all people of color and marginalized communities. Fisher said this organization has historically, primarily focused on Black Americans since its beginning.
“I’m here for the NAACP. It’s a new chapter at TTU and I found out about it over the summer. I knew we didn’t have (a chapter). So, it was very interesting to get it started here at Tech,” said Jordan Breedlove, a fourth-year psychology major from Carrollton, Texas.
This meeting provided students a place to meet similar individuals within their own university. Aryanna Monroe, a first-year biochemistry major from Arlington, Texas, said as a new student to the school, this provided her a place to meet new people with similar interests.
Existing members of the NAACP and interested students of Tech had the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals in a safe space. Flowers said one of their main goals is to provide students new experiences and help of any kind, while also offering a safe environment.
“Within Tech, I definitely think (diversity) is lacking. I’m a history major and I see it every day. I’m the only person that looks like me in every single one of my classes,” said Angel Acheampong, a third-year history major from Dallas, Texas.
Fisher said Tech does a good job welcoming diversity, but she is just unsure about their progress in demonstrating the diversity.
Many other schools that are much smaller but contain much larger gaps in diversity had organizations like the NAACP many years before Tech, Fisher said. Fisher said with the relatively larger community of Black students, there is surprisingly not as much representation within Tech.
“I think it’s important that we’re starting this (NAACP chapter) at least. I know that we have the BSA and other specific (people of color) inclusivity kind of things, or organizations on campus. So, yeah, I definitely think it’s important to get (similar organizations) started,” Breedlove said.
Tech’s NAACP chapter will be supporting people of colors access to quality education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. This organization advocates for laws and policies to improve students of colors’ overall community and campus, while also addressing issues of social justice including education, economic empowerment, health, juvenile justice and civic engagement.
Acheampong said knowing programs and organizations such as the NAACP are around for people of color on campus makes her feel more comfortable to be at Tech.
“It’s my first meeting and I encourage (attending a NAACP meeting). So, definitely come,” Acheampong said.